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no ww1, impact on science and technology


Hans de Vries
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For some reason ww1 either does not happen or is limited to being Third Balkan War

Do you think the world would be more technologically advanced than today? Some things to consider

1. Much less death. UK lost 700,000 young men in ww1, France, Germany, Austria and Russia over 1 mln. Many of them could have become scientists, inventors or engineers. All countries would also have much less debt. 

2. Russia is in much better shape without ww1, the civil war, the Holodomor and the Gulags. It probably becomes a developed country in early 1940s and has a population of 300-400 mln in 2021

3. no ww1 = no ww2. Enough said

4.In China the communists never take power. China has an economic boom 30 years earlier. The 2nd Sino-Japanese war may not take place

5. Latin America is probably much more prosperous since the US does not need to prop up ring neoliberal dictators in order to prevent communist takeover

6. In Africa decolonization is more peaceful and orderly. Again without the rivalry between West and East there are fewer wars and the continent stabilizes faster. 

7. Once India gains independence, it never has socialism. It experiences an economic boom 30 years earlier as does China

 

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38 minutes ago, Hans de Vries said:

For some reason ww1 either does not happen or is limited to being Third Balkan War

Do you think the world would be more technologically advanced than today? Some things to consider

1. Much less death. UK lost 700,000 young men in ww1, France, Germany, Austria and Russia over 1 mln. Many of them could have become scientists, inventors or engineers. All countries would also have much less debt. 

2. Russia is in much better shape without ww1, the civil war, the Holodomor and the Gulags. It probably becomes a developed country in early 1940s and has a population of 300-400 mln in 2021

3. no ww1 = no ww2. Enough said

4.In China the communists never take power. China has an economic boom 30 years earlier. The 2nd Sino-Japanese war may not take place

5. Latin America is probably much more prosperous since the US does not need to prop up ring neoliberal dictators in order to prevent communist takeover

6. In Africa decolonization is more peaceful and orderly. Again without the rivalry between West and East there are fewer wars and the continent stabilizes faster. 

7. Once India gains independence, it never has socialism. It experiences an economic boom 30 years earlier as does China

 

I think it is hard to make this claim, seeing that the period immediately after the war was an extremely fertile one for science. And, on the technology front, it is often claimed that war accelerates technology. WW2 in particular led to some rapid advances (radar, rocketry, the atom bomb...) 

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Still overall picture seems negative to me. Just considering that without ww1/ww2 entire regions of the world that are now 3rd or 2nd world would be considered 1st world is quite a difference. Just think of how many geniuses were born in India or China in 20th century who never had a chance to get educated and use their talent

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hans de Vries said:

3. no ww1 = no ww2. Enough said

How do you make that out ?

 

Following the Great War, there was a decade of boom.

The depression that lead Hitler into power and eventually to WWII did not happen until the 1930s.

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My point of view is explaned in the other thread.
WW1 would have happened regardless; maybe not at the same time, and maybe with fewer countries involved ( and maybe less casualties ).

I have always looked at the beneficial impacts of Germany winning the war.
There would still be no WW2, no Bolchevic Revolution and rise of Communism, no Cold War, no model for China to copy, no Israel/middle East instability, etc.
Germany was a hotbed of scientific progress in the first half of the 20th century.
Can you imagine their accomplishments without the misfortune of being the principal losers of two world wars ?

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WW2 was a case of losers of ww1 teaming up against the winners to exact revenge. If you look at top Nazis and Fascists (including Hitler and Mussolini) nearly all of them were psychologically troubled people who could not find a place in a peaceful society. 

 

So no ww1 automatically means no ww2. Say with a peaceful pacifist Wilhelm II Germany likely becomes the center of science and technology and creates something akin to the European Union at some time in 1920s or 30s

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4 minutes ago, Hans de Vries said:

WW2 was a case of losers of ww1 teaming up against the winners to exact revenge. If you look at top Nazis and Fascists (including Hitler and Mussolini) nearly all of them were psychologically troubled people who could not find a place in a peaceful society. 

 

So no ww1 automatically means no ww2. Say with a peaceful pacifist Wilhelm II Germany likely becomes the center of science and technology and creates something akin to the European Union at some time in 1920s or 30s

 

I seem to remember from my history that more that one of the major combatents were on the 'opposite' sides in WWI and WWII.

Edited by studiot
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5 minutes ago, Hans de Vries said:

Italy?

It was among the winners but considered itself to be a loser. Italy gained nothing from ww1. 

Japan entered the war on the side of the Allies on 23 August 1914,

The Ottoman Empire came into World War I as one of the Central Powers. The Ottoman Empire entered the war by carrying out a surprise attack on Russia's Black Sea coast on 29 October 1914

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7 minutes ago, studiot said:

Following the Great War, there was a decade of boom.

Not in Germany, there wasn't.
The Weimar Republic had its first economic collapse in 1923, due to inability to pay reparations in 1922,  subsequent French occupation of the Ruhr valley. See here ...        The hyperinflation crisis, 1923 - The Weimar Republic 1918-1929 - Edexcel - GCSE History Revision - Edexcel - BBC Bitesize
A Hitler made his first attempt n during this time, the 'Biergarten Putsch' for which he was  incarcerated  ( giving him time to write Mein Kampf ).
By this time Mussolini had already marched on Rome, in 1922.

The 'wheels' of WW2 were already in motion in the early 20s.

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Posted (edited)

I remembered Japan. It literally just seized a single island from Germany in the Pacific so its participation was... quite limited

 

Without Wilhelm II's assurances Austro-Hungary would have not decalred war on Serbia most likely. In Germany itself social democrats were growing in power, Germany would need to transition to a constitutional monarchy roughly in 1918-25

Edited by Hans de Vries
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9 minutes ago, Hans de Vries said:

I remembered Japan. It literally just seized a single island from Germany in the Pacific so its participation was... quite limited

You seem to want to focus on Germany ?

You also queried my view of Jutland.

The Japanese were active long beofore WW1 was declared.

Compare carefully the strengths of the fleets (Japan won) despite being at a 5 battleship to 11 battleship disadvantage.

But you surely don't consider them a minor player in WW2  ?

Quote

Wiki

The Battle of Tsushima (Japanese: 対馬沖海戦, Tsushimaoki-Kaisen, Russian: Цусимское сражение, Tsusimskoye srazheniye), also known as the Battle of Tsushima Strait and the Naval Battle of the Sea of Japan (Japanese: 日本海海戦, Nihonkai-Kaisen) in Japan, was a major naval battle fought between Russia and Japan during the Russo-Japanese War. It was naval history's first, and last, decisive sea battle fought by modern steel battleship fleets,[2][3] and the first naval battle in which wireless telegraphy (radio) played a critically important role. It has been characterized as the "dying echo of the old era – for the last time in the history of naval warfare, ships of the line of a beaten fleet surrendered on the high seas".[4]

It was fought on 27–28 May 1905 (14–15 May in the Julian calendar then in use in Russia) in the Tsushima Strait located between Korea and southern Japan. In this battle the Japanese fleet under Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō destroyed the Russian fleet, under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky, which had traveled over 18,000 nautical miles (33,000 km) to reach the Far East. In London in 1906, Sir George Sydenham Clarke wrote, "The battle of Tsu-shima is by far the greatest and the most important naval event since Trafalgar";[5] decades later, historian Edmund Morris agreed with this judgment.[6] The destruction of the fleet caused a bitter reaction from the Russian public, which induced a peace treaty in September 1905 without any further battles.

Prior to the Russo-Japanese War, countries constructed their battleships with mixed batteries of mainly 6-inch (152 mm), 8-inch (203 mm), 10-inch (254 mm) and 12-inch (305 mm) guns, with the intent that these battleships fight on the battle line in a close-quarter, decisive fleet action. The Battle of Tsushima conclusively demonstrated that battleship speed and big guns[7] with longer ranges were more advantageous in naval battles than mixed batteries of different sizes.[8]

Belligerents
22px-Flag_of_Japan_%281870%E2%80%931999% Empire of Japan 23px-Flag_of_Russia.svg.png Russian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Empire of Japan Tōgō Heihachirō
Empire of Japan Kamimura Hikonojō
Empire of Japan Dewa Shigetō
Russian Empire Zinovy Rozhestvensky
Russian Empire Nikolai Nebogatov
Russian Empire Oskar Enqvist
Strength
5 battleships
23 cruisers
20 destroyers
16 torpedo boats
plus auxiliary vessels
8 battleships
3 coastal battleships
9 cruisers
9 destroyers
plus auxiliary vessels
Casualties and losses
117 dead
583 injured
3 torpedo boats sunk
(450 tons sunk)
5,045 dead
803 injured
6,016 captured
6 battleships sunk
1 coastal battleship sunk
14 other ships sunk
7 ships captured
6 ships disarmed
(126,792 tons sunk)

 

13 minutes ago, MigL said:

Not in Germany, there wasn't.
The Weimar Republic had its first economic collapse in 1923, due to inability to pay reparations in 1922,  subsequent French occupation of the Ruhr valley. See here ...        The hyperinflation crisis, 1923 - The Weimar Republic 1918-1929 - Edexcel - GCSE History Revision - Edexcel - BBC Bitesize
A Hitler made his first attempt n during this time, the 'Biergarten Putsch' for which he was  incarcerated  ( giving him time to write Mein Kampf ).
By this time Mussolini had already marched on Rome, in 1922.

The 'wheels' of WW2 were already in motion in the early 20s.

The point is that in WW2 Germany had imperialist dreams in Europe.

In WW1 it did not.

Edited by studiot
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One could make the argument that the militaristic Generals of Japan simply filled the void left by the departure of former colonial European powers who could not sustain overseas occupations after the incurred costs of WW1 ( France, Germany, England ),
They simply took advantage of the situation and started 'expanding' into East asia.
They had previously defeated the Russians in 1905 over Manchurian/Korean ambitions.

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2 minutes ago, MigL said:

One could make the argument that the militaristic Generals of Japan simply filled the void left by the departure of former colonial European powers who could not sustain overseas occupations after the incurred costs of WW1 ( France, Germany, England ),
They simply took advantage of the situation and started 'expanding' into East asia.
They had previously defeated the Russians in 1905 over Manchurian/Korean ambitions.

I don't doubt they did indeed have imperialist aims of their own that carried in into WW2.

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

Not in Germany, there wasn't.
The Weimar Republic had its first economic collapse in 1923, due to inability to pay reparations in 1922,  subsequent French occupation of the Ruhr valley. See here ...        The hyperinflation crisis, 1923 - The Weimar Republic 1918-1929 - Edexcel - GCSE History Revision - Edexcel - BBC Bitesize
A Hitler made his first attempt n during this time, the 'Biergarten Putsch' for which he was  incarcerated  ( giving him time to write Mein Kampf ).
By this time Mussolini had already marched on Rome, in 1922.

The 'wheels' of WW2 were already in motion in the early 20s.

Yet by 1924 the Weimar Republic made a staggering recovery effectively ending hyperinflation in record time. By 1928 the stabilization of the Republic was also reflected politically with the extremist parties only getting a small fraction of the votes (communists around 10, Nazis less than 3). By 1929 the standing of the Republic improved to a degree that the Young plan initiated relief and the end of the occupation of the Rhineland. I.e. there is not a direct line from the post-war woes to the rise of the NSDAP and WWII, unless one cuts out close of a decade of development.

Aside from the looming stock market crash, much of the destabilization of the Weimar Republic actually came from the inside, with the nationalist DNVP opposing the economically successful government and seizing on an anti-Young plan movement to bolster nationalist and populist tendencies. Hugenberg, the head of the DNVP was an industrialist and had one of the most widely read newspaper at the time and used it to fan the flames and also bolstered Hitler's (and the NSDAP's) reputation among the working class, to gain broader support.

 

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42 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Yet by 1924 the Weimar Republic made a staggering recovery

That is why I said the 1st collapse.
And although their economy recovered, they still could not make reparation payments, which most German people felt they shouldn't have to make, as no battles had been fought on German soil, and the leadership ( including President von Hindenburg ) had sold them out by capitulating.
That is the sentiment A Hitler nurtured, and grew, since 1922.

Edited by MigL
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11 minutes ago, MigL said:

That is why I said the 1st collapse.
And although their economy recovered, they still could not make reparation payments, which most German people felt they shouldn't have to make, as no battles had been fought on German soil, and the leadership ( including President von Hindenburg ) had sold them out by capitulating.
That is the sentiment A Hitler nurtured, and grew, since 1922.

I think CharonY has shown that it was more somplicated than your simplified version.

Alos I note that in ww1 Germany had no imperialist ambitions in Europe.
That is it did not enter the war to gain terrority but because of its obligations to someone else.

This was clearly never true of A Hitler and ww2 who definitely wanted to conquer Europe at least.

So it cannot be that ww2 was jjust a continuation of ww1 and the ambitions of an entirely different regime.
Sure the Hitler egime used every resentment going to fan the nationalist flames.
But they did not continue someone else's lost war.

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I agree with those sentiments, but I've never stated otherwise.
I have said that a 'better' outcome of WW1 would have been if Britain and Italy never entered the war, and Germany had been the victor.
Lenin would not have been allowed to return from exile, ushering in the Communist revolution.
Italy, having played no part, would not feel short-changed in territorial gains, and would not seek those under the Fascist Mussolini regime.
Germany, although haaving no territorial ambitions, felt betrayed and taken advantage of by the Allies, particularly France and Russia, as none the battles had been fought on German soils soils, yet the Allies were the victors.
Simple people were easily led astray by charismatic, convincing, leaders ( see Donald Trump Presidency and insurrection ).
Sometmes we tend to over-analyze/complicate things, when the simplified version fits.

I see Japan as simply taking advantage of the post WW1 situation, and filling a vacuum left by European colonials. And Austri-Hungary as well as the Ottoman Empire were already beginning to collapse even prior to WW1.
 

Edited by MigL
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6 hours ago, Hans de Vries said:

For some reason ww1 either does not happen or is limited to being Third Balkan War

Do you think the world would be more technologically advanced than today? Some things to consider

1. Much less death. UK lost 700,000 young men in ww1, France, Germany, Austria and Russia over 1 mln. Many of them could have become scientists, inventors or engineers. All countries would also have much less debt. 

2. Russia is in much better shape without ww1, the civil war, the Holodomor and the Gulags. It probably becomes a developed country in early 1940s and has a population of 300-400 mln in 2021

3. no ww1 = no ww2. Enough said

4.In China the communists never take power. China has an economic boom 30 years earlier. The 2nd Sino-Japanese war may not take place

5. Latin America is probably much more prosperous since the US does not need to prop up ring neoliberal dictators in order to prevent communist takeover

6. In Africa decolonization is more peaceful and orderly. Again without the rivalry between West and East there are fewer wars and the continent stabilizes faster. 

7. Once India gains independence, it never has socialism. It experiences an economic boom 30 years earlier as does China

Plausible visions and thoughts. But there is one problem. At least for You. You would not exist in this parallel Universe, if I would restart from backup took before WW1, and prevent it etc.. ;)

You exist, and you are you, just because history of the Universe went specific path in the past.

4 hours ago, Hans de Vries said:

So no ww1 automatically means no ww2.

If there would be no WW1 and WW2 or WW3 or WW4 etc there would be different wars which would be called WW1 and WW2 or WW3 or WW4 etc...

 

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

That is why I said the 1st collapse.
And although their economy recovered, they still could not make reparation payments, which most German people felt they shouldn't have to make, as no battles had been fought on German soil, and the leadership ( including President von Hindenburg ) had sold them out by capitulating.
That is the sentiment A Hitler nurtured, and grew, since 1922.

Yes, that is the overall point, the nationalist (-right) groups used the Dolchstosslegende and the Treaty of Versailles as a means to bolster nationalist agenda, even if there were plans and means to address the economic strains (starting with the Dawes plan). It is the danger of taking one narrative and try to make everything fit that box.

So to summarize the points again:

- the Dolchstosslegende was a conspiracy theory created by the Oberste Heeresleitung to excuse their military failures and at the same time blame social democrats, moderates as well as Jews. While the loss of WWI precipitated it, it was clearly used as a propaganda tool

- while reparations were a burden, economic and foreign policy successes have significantly stabilized the economic situation and promised easing of reparations.

- many areas of industry saw massive growth between 1924 and 1929, the situation was fundamentally different than in the post-war years

- however, there economic success and benefits were distributed uneven and especially agriculture was suffering. The Kaiserreich had a strong hierarchical structure, however some of these structure were breaking up with e.g. the working class trying to assert their rights which resulted in gains from the KPD, for example.

- as mentioned, between 1924-1929 even with reparations and the Dolchstosslegende, the society had a stable phase. The KPD was focusing on parliamentary work rather than incitement, the NDSDAP and other radicals were not influential anymore.

- on the other hand another factor was challenging political stability: the lack of democratic and parliamentary experience. The democracy was always under stress and parliamentary coalitions were constantly shifting and repeatedly minority cabinets were formed. This created a bit of a chaotic situation which shows the vulnerable underbelly of the Republic.

- in 1928 the SPD had a big win and it seemed that the right-wing nationalist were diminished. Subsequently the nationalist right unleashed their mentioned Anti-Young campaign which had a lasting impact on society. The interesting bit from that time is that prior to the campaign, the German population as a whole was not too worried about reparations because of the years of economic successes. While the campaign ultimately failed, it elevated the weak NSDAP to a mainstream party again.

- if we talk about external influence, because of the situation mentioned above, at that point the financial crisis of 1929 and resulting mass loss of employment probably had a much higher impact than either loss of WWI or reparations per se

- at that point the parliament mostly stopped working resulting using presidential ruling instead (not sure how that is translated properly)

 

What I am trying with this wild collection of thoughts is that as a whole, internal happenings are likely more critical than the overarching narrative of external pressures leading the the fall of the Weimar Republic. Considering the overall tendencies, without the economic crisis of 1929, the Republic had a good shot at stabilizing. If DNVP and other right-wing nationalists did not decide to use the DNVP as a bulwark to weaken the communists, they may never have gotten that popular. If the Dolchstosslegend was not fabricated, something else might have been. Again, I think the fairly common narrative of Reparations -> Struggles in Weimar Republic -> WWII is omitting far more compelling (but complex) happenings within the society and actually does not line up the actual happenings within the Republic.

 

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So all this discussion of the relationship between ww1 and ww2 is interesting but a bit off topic since the actual OP question was

 

7 hours ago, Hans de Vries said:

Do you think the world would be more technologically advanced than today?

To which my answer is that despite Hans' points supporting the pros of the proposition, he has not weighed them against the cons opposing it.

And there is one very strong con.

Historically, the periods of rapid technological advance have coincided with military imperatives in many cases.

So the canon replaced the trebuchet, the gun replaced the bow and arrow, the rifle replaced the musket, the shell replaced the solid projectile,

I have not tried to list con points but the weighing up process should be undertaken.

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

And Austri-Hungary as well as the Ottoman Empire were already beginning to collapse even prior to WW1.

By the way, Hitler himself wrote in Mein Kampf that the union of Germany with Austria-Hungary was a mistake. Italy entered the war on the side of the Entente because it had territorial disputes with Austria-Hungary. And Germany, according to Hitler, should simply wait for the collapse of Austria-Hungary to annex Austria.

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Posted (edited)

I don't think war itself drives progress. If anything, competition drives progress.

During war lots of resources and manpower is spent on producing things which are of no use during peacetime. Just look at how many Shermans and P-51s were scrapped after the war simply because they were not needed anymore.

Note that before 20th century the period with fastest technological progress was the period between 1815 and 1914 which saw only a few short wars in Europe. 

To look at just Germany - German lost 1.7 mln military dead in ww1 and 3.7 mln military dead in ww2. These were all overwhelmingly young men 1000s of whom could have become scientists or inventors. Even further 3.7 mln less men means 3.7 mln less taxpayers, it also means that milions of women never married and had children because there was a shortage of reproducrive age males in he population

Edited by Hans de Vries
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45 minutes ago, Hans de Vries said:

I don't think war itself drives progress. If anything, competition drives progress.

During war lots of resources and manpower is spent on producing things which are of no use during peacetime. Just look at how many Shermans and P-51s were scrapped after the war simply because they were not needed anymore.

 

Devices ≠ technology

IOW, we didn’t need those airplanes anymore, but we still used planes

Competition might drive some progress, but business has to deem the research worthwhile. There needs to be a profit involved. They are happy to use research done by the government - basically free to them - after the fact. Or have the government pay them (direct or subsidy, partially or fully funded) to do it.

 

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